March 23, 2020
Haya Mohanna came to the United States from the Gaza Strip in Palestine to study at Gettysburg College. She was sponsored by LE.O (Leonard Education Organization) which supports nearly 60 qualified students in American universities. Even with this support, she experienced the difficulty of leaving occupied Gaza, and the frustration of not being able to visit her family whom she has not seen in seven years. She has flourished in America even while she continues to make adjustments as a Muslim woman to her new environment. She believes that this country is a beacon of hope that must come to terms with itself as a cultural mix where no religion, culture, or race can be privileged.
January 14, 2019
Maarten Halff, Senior Political Affairs Officer, Electoral Assistance Division, United Nations, New York City, describes the large number of requests from client nations for technical assistance in conducting elections, especially in emerging democracies. The UN neither observes nor evaluates the results. It works with local officials to encourage people to vote, establish voting procedures, and count the votes. Human rights are an important consideration in these consultations.
Presidential elections in the Central African Republic, Feb. 2016. UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis
July 29, 2018
A widely traveled, award-winning “ambassador” of peace, Rev. Sandra Mackie, Spiritual Director, Ruth House, and Recipient of the Lifetime Peacemaker Award, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice, believes that fear is a significant factor in war, and that better understanding is a key ingredient for peace. She observes that Iran should not be lumped together with other Mid-East nations. Iranians are not Arabs, but Persians with a long and proud history. They want to be democratic and open to the West, but free and independent; and when threatened, they think it necessary to develop a nuclear program.
June 4, 2018
Richard Michael, Interim Pastor Big Spring United Lutheran Church, discussed his recent travel to the Holy Land. Having led several groups over the years, he described the sites the group visited, the orientation to the trip for participants and the benefit of the trip for participants. For him and individuals in the group, the arrival to the Holy Land was “coming home” since the sites (cities and roads) are familiar to Christians through their reading of scriptures. In addition, Michael discussed the political realities which exist. Such a trip helps pastors to preach and teach more effectively and assists participants to reflect more critically when reading scripture and listening to sermons.
March 12, 2018
Justine Odila talks about his journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States. While in the Congo, he worked to help child soldiers to return to school, their families and mental stability as well as helping other young children to not become soldiers in the first place. This work resulted in him being arrested but he escaped to Zambia where he lived in a refugee camp for 17 years where he carried assisting those around him. After a 5-year vetting process, he was finally able to come to the United States via a resettlement program. He presently works at Walmart, works part-time as a mental health counselor, and attends classes at the community college.
To learn more about the Democratic Republic of the Congo you can begin here:
February 26, 2018
During her residency, Tucson-based writer Julie Swarstad Johnson will be working on poems inspired by stories of pacifist faith communities around Gettysburg before, during and after the time of the battle, with a particular focus on the experiences of the Sherfy family (owners of the Peach Orchard). Her own practice as a member of Mennonite and Quaker congregations will add perspective to the historical role these communities. It is an opportunity to understand examples of pacifism and faith in American public life. She took time from her research, writing and explorations for a conversation with Katy Giebenhain about her project. The author of Jumping the Pit by Finishing Line Press, Swarstad Johnson is a Library Specialist at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.
Julie Swarstad Johnson will give a free public poetry reading March 3rd at the Gettysburg NMP Museum and Visitor Center at 3:00 p.m.
The event is sponsored by a grant from the Gettysburg Foundation and other generous sponsors. For more information about the event call 717-334-1124.
Thanks to our host site for this interview, Waldo’s and Co. on the square in Gettysburg.
November 6, 2017
Phil Roth talks about his experience as a volunteer in the PAX program sponsored by the Mennonite Church as his alternative service for the military in the mid-1950s. He described the history of the program as well as the challenges for him and his fellow workers.
August 14, 2017
Lou Charest, Manager for University Engagement for Catholic Relief Services, describes the current global refugee crisis and explains why Catholic social teaching, as well as Pope Francis, calls us to welcome migrants and refugees. He offers suggestions for how local communities can provide support, from encouraging legislation to linking with refugee families.
June 19, 2017
Award-winning songwriter, performer, author and peace activist David LaMotte has travelled extensively. In Gettysburg for the first time, he talks with Katy Giebenhain from Seminary Ridge Review about change narratives, reconciliation and a wonderfully unexpected story of nonviolent response.